In this Christmas reflection for the CatholicCare Sydney staff newsletter Sandie Cornish acknowledges the stresses and strains we experience at Christmas, and the way in which love is born in ordinary acts of kindness.
It seems that every year I arrive on the brink of Advent – the season of preparation for Christmas – feeling tired and anxious about the many things to be done before Christmas. Every year I promise myself that next year I will be more prepared and able to enter more calmly into the spirit of this season of waiting and pondering.
For many of the people CatholicCare serves this is a difficult time. Limited incomes and financial pressures place restrictions on gifts, celebrations and visits to more distant family. All of the struggles and challenges of family life can become more intense as arrangements are negotiated, and some people will experience more acutely their social isolation. It can be difficult to meet social expectations.
Sometimes Christmas breaks like a tropical storm. Too much heat, too much alcohol and too much time in close proximity to relatives with whom one doesn’t really get along can be an explosive combination. It can be the last straw in a strained relationship.
It is into this chaos of the best and worst of human behavior that God breaks through in the most mundane and wonderful way. The birth of a child is at the same time ordinary and uniquely extraordinary. Likewise the ordinary things that CatholicCare staff do all year make the extraordinary liberating love of God present in the world. Jesus is born everyday in each act of love.
The jacaranda are blooming and I am trying to take a moment each day to notice beauty and goodness. I’m sure that you see much goodness in the lives of the people whom you serve, often when others do not. I see much loving-kindness in the everyday activities of CatholicCare staff. Thank you for bringing Jesus to birth in our world.
Best wishes for a happy and holy Christmas.